Tuesday, May 21, 2019

High-flying Paige taking WVU to new heights

When I say he’s taking the Mountaineers to new heights, I mean it literally.

As a matter of fact, you can just call him Jaysean ‘Rage’ because quite frankly, his violent dunks are usually enough to take all momentum away from West Virginia’s opponent.

Jaysean Paige slams down a dunk (Photo Credit: Dale Sparks, wvusports.com)

(Photo Credit: Dale Sparks, wvusports.com)

Two seasons ago when Jaysean Paige first arrived on campus as a junior transfer from the JUCO level at Moberly Area CC, not many people saw the potential he had stored behind the No. 0 jersey.

After playing an important role on the 2015 Sweet 16 squad, and a undergoing a slight change to his jersey (switching to the No. 5), Mountaineer fans quickly learned just how valuable this 6-foot-2 full of energy, high-flying athlete is.

“Jaysean came in here thinking he was a three-point shooter, and I was like, man you gotta start to drive the ball. You’re our best athlete,” said Bob Huggins following Paige’s 26-point effort to lead WVU over No. 1 Kansas. “He’s got great athleticism and he’s got great strength and he can absorb contact at the rim… He’s I think as good a finisher as there is probably in our league or he’s certainly one of the best.”

(Photo Credit: Dale Sparks, wvusports.com)

(Photo Credit: Dale Sparks, wvusports.com)

It may have taken over a year, but Huggins was finally able to encourage Paige to put his explosive abilities on display. Since then, Paige has had more than a few SportsCenter Top-10 worthy dunks.

In fact, Paige has been one of the Mountaineers’ most dominant scorers all season long putting up 16 points against then-No. 10 Virginia, 17 against the Hokies of Virginia Tech, 25 against Kansas State, 20 at TCU and 18 against then-No. 2 Oklahoma to go along with his season-high of 26 over the Jayhawks.

“I’m in the gym working for moments like this,” said Paige. “I’m just staying ready and staying in tune for games like this. You can do anything if you work at it so I feel like I’ve been working at it so it’s been working out for me.”

Last season, Paige averaged just 5.6 PPG. Averaging nearly 14 PPG and four RPG already this season, Paige is making a case to be considered the nation’s best sixth-man as nearly all of his production has came off of the West Virginia bench.

You can look for Paige to light up the Coliseum scoreboard again tonight as No. 9 West Virginia attempts to sweep their season-series with the Kansas State Wildcats. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

Cover image credit wvusports.com